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oellegaard 578 days ago | link | parent

Living in a free, democratic and gender-equal country, I have a hard time understanding how programming languages (their organizations, such as PSF) should play an active role in political issues. If sexual harassment are not covered by local laws, maybe residents in this country should invest some time pushing that through.


theorique 578 days ago | link

PSF isn't enforcing laws.

It's just setting a basic standard of behavior - be nice, don't be a jerk, don't harass people based on their personal characteristics.

And on the flip side, it's saying to people who otherwise might be reluctant to participate, thinking they would face prejudice, "hey, we got your back, prejudice against you is not allowed here".

Seems pretty innocuous.

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jnoller 578 days ago | link

I explained why the foundation should take an active role here: http://jessenoller.com/blog/2012/12/7/the-code-of-conduct - read the whole thing, especially the points about sponsorship and branding.

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oellegaard 578 days ago | link

I did read the whole thing before writing my original reply. I see why you need to do it for PyCon, but I can't see why you need to demand it for the things you sponsor in PSF.

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jnoller 578 days ago | link

We need it for conferences we sponsor just as other sponsors require it from PyCon. Requiring it from conferences taking our money, our logo and our name (nee: endorsement) means that protections are in place for our investment and community

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jacobian 578 days ago | link

> Living in a [...] gender-equal country [...]

Which country is that?

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oellegaard 578 days ago | link

Denmark.

The Law of Equality: https://www.retsinformation.dk/forms/r0710.aspx?id=20929 (could not get google translate to work)

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jacobian 578 days ago | link

Women in Denmark make about 10% less than men for the same work [1]. Granted, that's better than the US, where it's more like 75¢ on the dollar, but I'd hardly call that equality.

I don't know enough about Denmark to know whether gender discrimination persists in technical fields, but my guess is that women make up far less than half of the technical workforce (that's the case for most of Europe [2]).

[1] http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/03/09/the-gender-wage... [2] http://dl.acm.org/citation.cfm?doid=543812.543839

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the_mitsuhiko 578 days ago | link

And unless you will find a way for a male become pregnant that will never change. For better or worse there are differences between males and females and from a pure economical point of view that results in different risks in regards to employers.

How exactly does that however play into sexual harassment on conferences?

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mjg59 578 days ago | link

There's no inherent reason that pregnancy should result in women spending less time at work than men, and Danish parental leave laws mean that it's possible for a father to spend more time on 100% paid leave than a mother. The risk to employers is a consequence of local laws and social norms, not an absolute.

The relevance? There's this horrible idea that sexism doesn't exist in enlightened liberal societies with aggressive equality laws, and so any attempts to fix harassment should be done by just passing laws. In reality it's a social issue, and just like any social issue it doesn't get fixed through laws alone. Social attitudes need to change, and part of that is making it clear what the acceptable social attitudes at community events are.

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the_mitsuhiko 578 days ago | link

> There's no inherent reason that pregnancy should result in women spending less time at work than men, and Danish parental leave laws mean that it's possible for a father to spend more time on 100% paid leave than a mother. The risk to employers is a consequence of local laws and social norms, not an absolute.

It's not the time that matters, it's the timing. You can't legally (and you should not) force a pregnant woman to come to work.

> There's this horrible idea that sexism doesn't exist in enlightened liberal societies

Not all gender inequality is sexism. There are physical and psychological differences between our genders. Case in point: possibility of dichromacy among males versus potential tetrachromacy among females.

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mjg59 578 days ago | link

And in Denmark, you have no control over when a father might take paternity leave. This basic economic truth you're asserting is a product of society, not a product of biology.

>Not all gender inequality is sexism.

True, just the vast majority of it. But next time women complain that they're being underpaid, do remind them of the lucrative opportunities that await them in the growing field of "People better able to tell the difference between shades of green". I'm sure that'll make them feel better.

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the_mitsuhiko 578 days ago | link

> And in Denmark, you have no control over when a father might take paternity leave. This basic economic truth you're asserting is a product of society, not a product of biology.

And even in Denmark there are days where the mother is not allowed to work for the benefit of the child. And that is a product of biology.

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mjg59 578 days ago | link

How does that matter to an employer? The father can take exactly the same time off. Employing a man with a pregnant partner could be exactly as inconvenient as employing a pregnant woman.

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pretoriusB 578 days ago | link

>Women in Denmark make about 10% less than men for the same work [1]. Granted, that's better than the US, where it's more like 75¢ on the dollar, but I'd hardly call that equality.

And whole ranges of employees make less than other ranges of employees. There are lots of women in business that make 20 and 100 times what I make, for example.

Equal pay for men and women does not necessarily translate to equality at the workplace (it's based on a non verified premise that men and women's output and negotiating skills are equal). Have you researched if those women that make 10% less than men:

1) put 10% less to their work (e.g because they prefer investing more in their children than in the whole career rat-race)

2) Are less cut-throat salary negotiators? As an employee myself, I know that employees get what they are able to negotiate, not what they deserve and surely not equal pay.

Equality is equal pay for equal work -- regardless of gender race or creed.

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mjg59 578 days ago | link

Murder's also illegal in Denmark. Does that mean no murders occur?

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oellegaard 578 days ago | link

No, but I assume it doesn't have to be in the code of conduct, that there should be a staff meeting when a murder occurs, to decide if the local law enforcement should be involved?

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mjg59 578 days ago | link

Laws aren't enough to prevent things from happening. The fact that Denmark has equality laws doesn't mean that it's gender-equal, and it certainly doesn't mean that there's no sexual harassment. There are strong social mores against murder. There aren't strong social mores against sexual harassment. Having a code of conduct helps indicate to attendees that whatever their personal beliefs about sexual harassment are, and regardless of what local laws there may be about it, it won't be tolerated.

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wnight 578 days ago | link

Event terms and conditions would become nicer if they didn't list the (already illegal) things that will get you expelled from the event but just said "Any criminal act, and especially the removal by police for these acts, will result in immediate expulsion except in the sole judgement of the event staff".

Even if the event wants to say something about it above and beyond that, it frees them up to say "We all know the law on this, but to encourage our ideal atmosphere (which is X) the voluntary by attendance code of conduct will also be ...." without repeating all the mundane bits of the law.

tl;dr, don't remind me something is illegal, remind me certain attitudes are unwelcome and leave it there.

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rbehrends 578 days ago | link

Theory and practice often look different. Even in Denmark, including when it comes to tech conferences:

http://boingboing.net/2012/05/14/moderator-at-dell-event-in-...

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kenneth_reitz 578 days ago | link

Harassment is not a political issue.

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oellegaard 578 days ago | link

Certainly not in the culture I identify myself with, but I'm sure there are plenty of countries where sexual harassment is accepted to some degree (if there was not, why would we even talk about implementing this code of conduct?)

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jnoller 578 days ago | link

This was stated elsewhere; but the PSF is taking a stance wherein it does not condone harassment and discrimination for events it provides money and support to even if the local standard is to allow for those social norms.

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ahelwer 578 days ago | link

This stuff happens in all countries, okay? It's a real problem. It's not just "some countries."

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pretoriusB 578 days ago | link

Well, there are also some countries that consider the pre-occupation with things such as "sexual harassment" that some Americans have obsessive and indicative of a society that relegates even basic human relations to the courtroom and to arcane prudish codes of conduct.

You took something valid (like being against sexual harassment when it's a bloody actual harassment) and you overblown it out of proportion.

Italians or French, e.g., have no problem with things such as office romance.

For example, the French did not give a flying duck if their President had a known ex-marital affair and even a child (like Miterrand), whereas Americans had this whole BS "moral outrage" when Clinton had an affair. Heck, Italians even voted multiple times into office a Prime Minister that is known to have wild parties with models and prostitutes (Berlusconi).

Not everybody in the world is as uptight as white Americans.

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ahelwer 578 days ago | link

When people travel from around the country and world for conferences, the legal route is a nightmare. Moreso than normal.

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oellegaard 578 days ago | link

Sure, but keep in mind that people paid to attend this conference, they need proper legal protection against claims. Let's say I go to a conference and someone claims that I did harass them sexually, it would be up to a few local programmers to decide what is the truth and not. That is not OK.

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jacobian 578 days ago | link

Sheesh, there's just so much that's wrong, disingenuous, and outright hilariously silly about these couple of sentences that I hardly know where to begin. Let's see...

* You don't have a right to attend a private event. The organizers of any event - a conference, a concert, whatever - have the right to ask you to leave at any point for any reason. You are, in fact, more protected with a code of conduct in place because it articulates the process instead of leaving it up to the whims of the organizers.

* You don't have any right to due process or "legal protection"; the conference organizers aren't the police! They're not deciding what's "truth" or not; they're deciding whather to allow you to stay at an event they're responsible for.

* If you're talking about PyCon, it's hardly "a few local programmers". PyCon is a conference with a large staff, a budget of over a million dollars, and an established NPO (the PSF) behind it.

* If you can't trust the organizers of an event, then why the heck are you attending?

* People don't just randomly make up harassment. In reality, harassment is vastly underreported because of the way victims of harassment are routinely ignored, shamed, and blamed.

* Wanna know a really good way to not be accused of harassment? Don't harass anyone! If you find not being a harasser so hard, then yeah you probably shouldn't go to the event.

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oellegaard 578 days ago | link

I did not claim to have a right to attend a conference.

If someone, man or woman, would report sexual harassment in Denmark, it would be done to the police, who would take proper actions. Actually, I explicitly do not want the conference staff to act like a conference police. Keep in mind that if they throw someone out of a conference because of harassment which proves wrong later - this persons image will be forever destroyed in the community.

I'm not talking about PyCon, it was mentioned that this applies to anything sponsored by PSF (correct me, if I'm wrong).

I don't personally know who organizes every event I attend, I attend events because I think the subject is interesting or because people I find interesting attends or speaks.

I agree harassment is underreported but there have been issues with fake reports in the media as well.

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ahelwer 578 days ago | link

It's rather telling that you relate to and sympathize more with the perpetrators than the victims of sexual harassment. Something to consider.

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the_mitsuhiko 578 days ago | link

I think you just won the tasteless comment on hackernews award.

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ahelwer 578 days ago | link

Explain, please.

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jnoller 578 days ago | link

You may have skipping reading all the details. Some of which include that local law enforcement may become involved at any point. This can be requested by the accuser, the conference staff - or even the accused should evidence be in dispute[1].

The actions of conference staff are a route for dispute resolution for things that may not warrant law enforcement involvement, and if law enforcement should be involved, it will be and will obviously supersede any decisions by staff. More importantly however, is that law enforcement involvement is painful, potentially ruinous, and does not take into account the actual conference nor its other attendees.

Hypothetical: corroborated harassment incident; law enforcement is called in at the request of the accused/accuser. Action is taken. This does not remove the harasser from the site, nor does it trigger further sanctions against him or her within the community or conference unless such a set of explicit rules is codified.

[1] https://us.pycon.org/2013/about/code-of-conduct/harassment-i...

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mjg59 578 days ago | link

You have exactly the same legal protection you had in the past. Conferences are private events, and conference organisers have always asserted the right to exclude attendees for any reason.

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